Demystifying Classroom Placement

At the beginning of a new school year teachers are faced with a new class and with it comes new challenges, especially when it comes to deciding who sits where. There are a few options for teachers when deciding on class placement:

  • let each student choose their own seat (and move them as necessary, usually breaking up misbehaving friends or moving the naughty kids to the front)

  • place them alphabetically

  • place them according to their academic performance

  • place bright students next to students who need help

But what do these traditional class placement strategies mean for a student's ability to concentrate, memorise and learn? Inevitably some children will end up exactly where they need to be for optimal learning, while others will be exactly where they shouldn't be and their marks may suffer.

So what is the best way to place students in class?

Students should always have their dominant ears facing the teacher, therefore left ear dominant children should sit at the right side of the classroom and vice versa. The reasoning behind this is simple: When a student's dominant ear faces the teacher, he doesn't have to unconsciously turn his head in order to hear better. This also helps minimise distractions - when a student turn's his head, he sees other things, such as another student's mismatched socks which causes distraction.